Giving and thanks

By Mitsie Scaglione

This holiday always prompts reflection on the many reasons to be grateful – and opportunities to give and offer thanks.

The business of art takes us around the world.  And although our travels often focus on work, Albert and I have been able to uncover some remarkable gems: those special places that we deeply connect with and feel the kinship and comfort of home, even when we are far away.

One of those places is the Catholic church we attend when we are visiting the Turks and Caicos Islands. Until recently, the mass was celebrated in a plain cinderblock building, but now the mission parish has a new church that accommodates the faithful – visitors or residents – who travel there to attend Sunday service.

Albert and I like to go to Haitian mass. There are many Haitian people who have migrated to the islands for work and hope for a better life. The local people aren’t always keen on migrants coming in for work, and many would-be migrant Haitians are stopped before they ever make it to the islands, or they are deported once they arrive. (It’s close to a 200-mile boat trip from Haiti.)

Regardless of their plight, how they got there, or the work they do – their worship is genuine. It is lively and heartfelt in spite of their troubles. Although the people don’t have much in the way of worldly possessions, what they have in faith, joy and love feels like you can almost grab it. The mass is in the Haitian Creole language, and the music is from their culture. The children are almost bright and shiny – eager and so carefully scrubbed and dressed for the weekly celebration.

Holy Family Academy Turks and Caicos

The parish has a school – Holy Family Academy – that educates close to 100 children ranging from kindergarten age through high school. (It opened to just 10 students in 2006). The resources at the school are sparse, but the children are doing well. The older students for the first time are able to access online classes from Florida, which has greatly expanded their curriculum opportunities.

But then this …

 

DSC07879

That’s a photo of how thieves got into the school offices. They tore off some of the roof, broke through windows to get into classrooms, and pretty much ransacked the place before taking what they could – including many laptop computers. It’s truly a devastating loss for this community.

By coincidence or fate, this happened just before we arrived for a visit. Albert and I were heading to the school to meet with Msgr. Peter with the intent of offering financial help. We try to focus our donations in support of children and education.

Expecting to find the place bustling with activity, instead we found it empty of students and filled with a sad and broken mess. We were unable to meet with Msgr. Peter since he was occupied with the details of the crime scene. However, without missing a beat, Albert told a woman from Holy Family Academy that we had come prepared to make a personal donation of $50,000 to the school. In addition to that, and in light of the circumstances, Albert told her we were also donating money to replace the 11 stolen computers so students could be sure to keep on track.

PW blog MS

There’s no way of explaining the school community’s expression of gratitude for the contribution we made, but I can assure you, Albert and I are the grateful ones.

I know the saying is “it’s better to give than to receive,” and we are thankful to be able to give what we have. But in reality, we are also – maybe much more so – the grateful receivers. We don’t speak Creole, and the culture is vastly different from our own, but that island church feels like home. Every time we are so graciously welcomed there, it is like opening a beautifully wrapped present filled with the gift of comfort and joy, and given unconditionally. And that’s a gift in our frequent travels that we gratefully accept, cherish and continue to carry with us.

Perhaps you would like to help us as we try to improve the lives of children through educational initiatives. Please consider making a donation on behalf of this school – or one of our philanthropic efforts.

And know that Albert and I wish for you and yours the comforts of home and a bounty of reasons to be grateful on this Thanksgiving Day.

8 Responses to Giving and thanks

  1. Mary Staffrey says:

    I have worked in grant writing for a rescue mission and a women’s prison ministry in my local community, and the gratitude that you feel by even being a part of the process is unforgettable. I commend your organization for doing this. Investing resources in Children and Education is a wonderful investment in humanity with benefits that are for the world, and not really measurable. Thankyou!

  2. Deb herring says:

    I support a school in Moshi, Tanzania. Every time I visit, it truly amazes me that no matter how poor one is their faith is what means the most to them. Blessing to you and your family for your support and you kindness to people of the world.

  3. Barbara Forauer says:

    The mist in my eyes after reading your story brings joy to my heart. Thank you

  4. Bobby G. Cumberland says:

    Albert and Mitsie,

    What a great story for Thanksgiving! Having followed PWG, bought some great art from PWG, and even worked as an Art Director for PWG-I love what you do for our world! PWG makes many people happy in many ways, but this article shows the love and compassion you both have for others! I hope to join PWG again in the future and make art lovers happy all over the earth via cruise ships! My heart misses the art work and kind passengers/crew members on ships all over the world! Keep up the good work and kindness to others, it is appreciate by more people than you will ever know!!!!
    Sincerely,

    Bobby G. Cumberland

  5. Tyler DeFalco says:

    Mitsie…thank you for sharing this and for all that you and Albert are doing for the Hatians. We became Park West gallery clients this year and it is important and comforting that part west owners are not all just about art and the sale and collection of art. Happy Holidays to you and your family and your entire Park West team.

  6. Tammy Hampel says:

    What a great story Mitsie! I work with At-Risk students everyday in education….It just warms my heart to read about you and Albert giving so unselfishly 🙂 Have blessed holiday season!

  7. Trish Foster says:

    I think you guys are great! I’ve never purchased fine art before my last cruise in June 2013. I am thrilled to have it and will definately buy again. Happy Holidays!

  8. Rev. Ronald Brickner says:

    THANKS YOU for offering a little hope to the people there. God Bless you.

Leave a comment

Prove you\'re human. *

Latest News

  • How Artist Slava Ilyayev Brings Modern-Day Impressionism to Life

    Collectors around the world love the remarkably textured paintings of acclaimed artist Slava Ilyayev. While his style is uniquely his own, Ilyayev regularly cites Impressionists like Vincent van Gogh ...
    Read More
  • Meet the Artist: 10 Questions with Slava Ilyayev

    For artist Slava Ilyayev, it’s not just about expressing color—it’s about feeling.Much like the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists that influence him, Ilyayev creates art to express feeling and emotions. Specifically, ...
    Read More
  • See If You’re an Art Aficionado with Our Fall Sale Art Quiz

    With Park West's 2018 Fall Sale in full swing, it's time to get to know our featured art and artists with our new art quiz!As the largest privately-owned art ...
    Read More
  • What Makes a Master Artist? Meet 7 Legendary Masters in Our New Video

    
    Read More
  • MI Great Artist Announces First-Ever People’s Choice Winner, Top 35 Artists

    MI Great Artist has announced its 35 semi-finalists for 2018—including one lucky “People’s Choice” winner who automatically moves to the competition’s final round.Sponsored by Park West Gallery and Michigan’s Oakland ...
    Read More
  • See How Artist Slava Ilyayev Creates His Unbelievably Textured Paintings

    When people first encounter a painting by Slava Ilyayev, one of their most common questions is "How does he do that?"There is a level of texture and color in ...
    Read More
  • Meet the Artist: 10 Questions with Ron Agam

    Ron Agam started his career as an artist later in life, but has made up for lost time with bold, exciting art that evokes movement and contemplation.He readily admits ...
    Read More
  • Auctioneer Spotlight: Alex O’Rafferty and Candi Hanson

    At Park West, we know one thing for certain—our collectors love our onboard Art Teams.We hear it all the time. When people attend our auctions and art events on cruise ...
    Read More
  • Autumn de Forest Paints First-Ever Mural at Miami’s Wynwood Walls

    Having already exhibited her art in prevalent museums and galleries by the age of 16, art prodigy Autumn de Forest added some street cred to her impressive resume by ...
    Read More
  • Ilyayev, Max, Renoir, and More Now Available in 2018 Fall Sale

    As summer winds to a close, fall is definitely in the air. Bring the cozy feelings and amazing colors of autumn into your life with amazing new artwork from ...
    Read More
  • Collect the Breathtaking Art of Slava Ilyayev During our 2018 Fall Sale

    Incredible color, dynamic textures, and a magical sense of romance. Experience these sensations with the art of Slava Ilyayev during our 2018 Fall Sale.This limited-time sale features
    Read More
  • Take an Inside Look at Salvador Dalí’s Latest Museum Exhibition

    Salvador Dalí might be one of the world’s best known Surrealists, but an exciting new museum exhibition is re-examining the legacy of this legendary artist.You can take a behind-the-scenes ...
    Read More